Unlocking Longevity: The Unexpected Connection Between Wearing Hearing Aids and Living a Longer Life
An otolaryngologist from Keck Medicine of USC, Dr. Janet Choi, is the leader of a recent study that highlights the substantial effect that hearing aid use has on the life expectancy of persons with hearing loss. The study examined information from more than 10,000 persons with hearing loss who were questioned by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 1999 and 2012, and its findings were published in The Lancet Healthy Longevity on January 3.
The startling discovery indicates that frequent usage of hearing aids is linked to an astounding 24% decrease in adult mortality among those who have hearing loss. This beneficial effect was felt by people who used their devices for as little as five hours a week. Even after accounting for age, the degree of hearing loss, socioeconomic level, and other medical issues, the results were still significant.
Given the continuing mystery around how hearing loss itself may limit lifetime, the association between the usage of hearing aids and longevity is interesting. A number of factors have been linked to hearing loss, including social isolation, depression, anxiety, and dementia. These factors may have a negative impact on one’s health. Recent studies also point to anatomical alterations, tissue loss, and atrophy in the brain regions associated with auditory processing in hearing-impaired people.
Dr. Choi highlights the need of learning more about the protective effects of hearing aids on brain structures in the hopes that this information would inspire more people to seek care, particularly younger people and those who may be at risk of social isolation as a result of hearing loss. The study emphasizes how stigma and fear related to wearing hearing aids must be addressed because going untreated can have serious negative effects on longevity and health.
The study’s conclusions emphasize the possible life-extending advantages of using hearing aids in the treatment of people with hearing loss, encouraging a healthier and more active lifestyle in spite of age- or disability-related worries.
What are some common types of hearing aids?
There are five major types of hearing aids, which can be identified by how much of the device is placed within the ear or ear canal and how much of it is outside. Here is a brief synopsis of each kind:
Ear to ear (BTE):
- Configuration: The electronics are housed in a stiff plastic case behind the ear. It is attached to a plastic earmold that is inserted into the outer ear by a small cable. The speaker and microphone are enclosed in the earmold.
- Applicability: This is appropriate for anyone with mild to extensive hearing loss of any age.
- Configuration: The whole hearing aid is housed inside the outer ear.
- Application: Fit for people with moderate to profound hearing loss.
Within the canal (ITC):
- Arrangement: Located within the ear canal.
- Application: Suitable for people with mild to severe hearing impairment.
Fully within the channel (CIC):
- Configuration: Because these hearing aids are positioned deep into the ear canal, they are almost invisible.
- Application: Suitable for people with mild to severe hearing loss.
RIC, or receiver-in-canal
- Configuration: The other parts are behind the ear, and the speaker is positioned inside the ear canal.
- Application: This is appropriate for people who have moderate to profound hearing loss.
With discrete solutions for varying degrees of hearing impairment, this extensive range of hearing aids meets a wide range of needs and tastes.
How do I choose the right hearing aid for me?
It can be difficult to choose the best hearing aid, but these tips can help you make an informed decision:
Speak with an audiologist: An expert audiologist can evaluate your unique hearing loss and recommend the best hearing aid for your needs.
Get a referral: Ask your primary care physician to suggest a reliable audiologist.
Look into free trials: A lot of manufacturers of hearing aids provide trial times so you may evaluate the product before deciding to buy it.
Think about your way of life: Think about your hobbies, daily routine, and workplace to make sure the hearing aid you select meets your needs.
Check the warranty: Make sure there is a guarantee on repairs and replacements for the hearing aid.
Be cautious while making claims: When a hearing aid claims to heal or completely restore hearing, you should be wary. Although they can help, full healing is not possible.
The best size to choose is one that fits comfortably in your ear and is manageable. Hearing aids come in a variety of sizes.
Hearing aid kinds: Completely in-canal (CIC), In-the-ear (ITE), Behind-the-ear (BTE), In-the-canal (ITC), and Receiver-in-canal (RIC) are the five main types. The amount of each type’s gadget that is external or inside the ear differs. Depending on your lifestyle and the extent of your hearing loss, an audiologist can help you choose the best type.
How do I know if I need a hearing aid?
It is imperative that you have a hearing evaluation performed by a licensed audiologist if you think you may have hearing loss. This specialist can evaluate the kind and severity of your hearing loss and offer tailored advice on the best hearing aid for your needs.
It’s critical to identify any potential hearing loss symptoms. These symptoms can include hearing difficulties, particularly when there’s background noise, asking to repeat things repeatedly, turning up the TV or radio to levels that other people find loud, having trouble distinguishing consonants, and having trouble hearing high-pitched noises like doorbells or telephones.
Hearing aids can be classified into five main categories: completely in-canal (CIC), in-the-ear (ITE), behind-the-ear (BTE), in-the-canal (ITC), and receiver-in-canal (RIC). The amount of each variation’s device that is external and goes partway inside the ear or ear canal differs. Working with an audiologist to determine the best type for you depends on your lifestyle and the severity of your hearing loss.
What are some common features of modern hearing aids?
Many features available in modern hearing aids are intended to improve the user experience as a whole. Among them are:
Wireless Bluetooth Connectivity: With the help of cutting-edge Bluetooth technology, many modern hearing aids allow users to stream music straight from their smartphones, tablets, or other compatible devices.
Smartphone Integration: Some hearing aids are seamlessly compatible with smartphones, enabling users to adjust bass, treble, and loudness using a specialized app.
Effective Noise Reduction: With their advanced noise reduction features, modern hearing aids successfully reduce background noise and enable clearer conversation, particularly in noisy settings.
Directional Microphone Technology: Integrated directional microphones reduce undesirable background noise while helping users focus on the sounds they want to hear.
Feedback Cancellation: By utilizing cutting-edge feedback cancellation technology, these assistive devices successfully reduce whistling noises that may occur when the device is near an audio source.
Versatile Program Selection: To provide the best possible auditory experiences in a range of circumstances, certain hearing aids come equipped with different programs that users can choose from either manually or automatically.
What are some common misconceptions about hearing aids?
There are a lot of false beliefs about hearing aids that prevent people from getting the help they need for their hearing loss. To encourage a better knowledge of these technologies, a few common misconceptions need to be dispelled:
Exclusion of Older Adults: In contrast to popular opinion, hearing loss affects people of all ages. Anybody with auditory impairments, whether young adults, elderly, or children, can benefit from wearing hearing aids.
Age-Associated Appearance: It is a myth that wearing hearing aids makes one appear older than they actually are. The designs of modern electronics are modest, svelte, and frequently almost unnoticeable. These tools are designed to fit in with everyday activities without drawing unnecessary attention to themselves.
Restoring Perfect Hearing: Hearing aids greatly enhance auditory perception, but they cannot bring back perfect hearing. Instead, they improve audibility by amplifying noises. Even while they can’t perfectly replicate natural hearing, they significantly improve quality of life by encouraging active engagement in pleasant interactions and experiences.
Single Aid Sufficiency: Experts frequently advise utilizing two devices, despite the common misconception that one hearing aid is sufficient for unilateral hearing loss. Benefits of dual aids include better speech comprehension in noisy surroundings, better sound localization, and a more balanced listening experience.
Financial Inaccessibility: A wide range of solutions are available at different price points, even though hearing aids may require an investment. Moreover, some insurance policies and aid schemes could pay all or a portion of the related expenses.
Ineffectiveness for Severe Hearing Loss: Severe to profound hearing loss is adequately addressed by modern hearing aid technology. For people with severe hearing loss, audiologists can customize devices and suggestions to fit their unique needs.
Discomfort: The comfort of the user is given top priority in today’s hearing aids. They come in a variety of styles, such as in-the-ear, behind-the-ear, and fully in-canal alternatives, and are made to fit comfortably according to personal preferences.
Online Purchases Without Expert guidance: It’s imperative to see an audiologist for professional guidance prior to making a hearing aid purchase. Assessing the kind and extent of hearing loss, audiologists can suggest the best equipment and guarantee maximum efficacy.
Can you recommend any good brands for hearing aids?
In today’s market, a wide range of credible brands provide a selection of hearing aids. Here are a few reputable choices:
Phonak is a Swiss-based company that is well-known for its wide selection of in-the-ear, behind-the-ear, and receiver-in-canal hearing aids. Notable for their cutting-edge technology, Phonak products are praised for their superb sound quality.
ReSound: This well-known Danish firm offers a range of hearing aids, such as receiver-in-canal, in-the-ear, and behind-the-ear types. Acclaimed for their flawless wireless networking and excellent sound quality.
Oticon: Another Danish business, Oticon is well-known for its wide range of hearing aids, which includes receiver-in-canal, in-the-ear, and behind-the-ear types. Their exceptional sound quality and use of cutting edge technologies have created their reputation.
Widex: Another Danish company, Widex is well-known for its selection of in-the-ear, behind-the-ear, and receiver-in-canal hearing aids. Well-known for their innovative technology and superb audio reproduction.
Starkey: An American company, Starkey produces a wide range of hearing aids, such as receiver-in-canal, in-the-ear, and behind-the-ear types. renowned for their superior sound quality and cutting-edge technologies.
Signia: With its roots in Germany, Signia provides a wide range of hearing aids, such as receiver-in-canal, in-the-ear, and behind-the-ear types. renowned for their superior sound quality and state-of-the-art technologies.
Unitron: This respectable Canadian firm makes a range of hearing aids, including receiver-in-canal, in-the-ear, and behind-the-ear types. Their ability to produce exceptional sound quality and use cutting edge technology is their greatest asset.
It is important to stress that every person has different needs and preferences when selecting a hearing aid. It is advised that you consult an audiologist to ascertain which choice best suits your individual needs.
How much do hearing aids cost?
The kind, features, and technology of hearing aids can all have a big impact on their price. An adult’s hearing aids usually cost between $2,000 and $4,000 on average. Individual gadget costs, however, might range from less than $1,000 to more than $8,000. These differences are contingent upon variables like the degree of technology, design, and integrated features.
Within the Indian context, the price range of hearing aids is between ₹499 and ₹5,199. It’s important to keep in mind that a number of factors, such as the kind of hearing aid, its features, and the technology it uses, contribute to this broad range.
It’s important for those looking to get hearing aids to know that some insurance plans and assistance programs may pay all or part of the associated fees. To make sure that access to essential hearing support is not hampered by financial concerns, it is recommended to investigate your choices.
Can I use my phone with a hearing aid?
Because the majority of modern smartphones are designed to be hearing aid compatible (HAC), you can use them with a hearing aid with ease. All cell phones must comply with HAC standards, as mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to reduce the possibility of interfering with hearing aid sounds.
The assessment of hearing aid compatibility with phones is based on both inductive and acoustic coupling. The more common technique, called acoustic coupling, uses the phone as usual while the hearing aid’s microphone records the sound. On the other hand, inductive coupling relies on the hearing aid’s telecoil to convey sound straight to the processor without using the microphone.
It is essential to look for the M grade, which indicates compatibility with hearing aids, while choosing a phone. The M rating ranges from 1 to 4, where 4 represents the highest level of compatibility. Higher ratings correspond to less distracting feedback and noise, while some undesired noise could still be present. One frequent grade, for example, is M3, and all of the current iPhone models fall under this range.
It’s important to understand that depending on the particular types of phone and hearing aid, there may be differences in compatibility. It is advised to speak with an audiologist to find the best phone and hearing aid combo for your unique requirements.
What are some common causes of hearing loss?
There are many different causes of hearing impairment. Among the common reasons are:
Aging (Presbycusis): One of the most common causes of hearing loss in the elderly is the normal aging-related decrease in hearing capacity.
Noise Exposure: Prolonged exposure to loud noises or abrupt, strong noises can cause damage to the sensitive inner ear hair cells, which can lead to hearing loss.
Ear Infections: Ear infections can cause temporary hearing loss by blocking the ear canal’s ability to transmit sound waves.
Accumulation of Earwax: Earwax buildup can impede the ear canal, which can cause hearing loss.
Genetic Factors: Certain forms of hearing loss may be influenced by inherited characteristics.
Medication: A number of medications, such as those used in chemotherapy and antibiotics, have the potential to damage hearing.
infections: Hearing loss has been linked to a number of infections, including measles, mumps, and meningitis.
Head injuries: Head trauma can cause harm to the inner ear, which can impair hearing.
Growth of tumors on the auditory nerve or in the ear may potentially contribute to hearing loss.
How can I take care of my hearing aids?
It’s critical to keep your hearing aids functioning at their best and lasting as long as possible. To do this, adhere to these maintenance advice:
Regular Cleaning: After each use, wipe your hearing aids down with a soft, dry cloth or tissue to keep them clean. Use a soft brush to wipe the microphone and receiver ports; avoid using water, alcohol, or cleaning agents that can damage the equipment.
Appropriate Storage: Keep your hearing aids in a dry, cold place when not in use. Make sure the battery door is open to allow air to circulate and keep moisture from building up.
Avoiding Moisture: Try not to expose your hearing aids to moisture at all, especially when bathing, swimming, or engaging in other activities that involve the water. Moisture has the potential to reduce the lifespan and damage the hearing aid.
Timely Battery Replacement: Replace your hearing aids’ batteries as soon as possible once they run out. Recycled batteries should not be left in devices as this might cause corrosion and other issues.
Planned Audiologist Check-ups: Make sure you see your audiologist on a frequent basis. These check-ups ensure that your aids are operating at their best by providing an opportunity for any necessary maintenance or modifications.
Temperature Considerations: Avoid keeping your hearing aids in hot automobiles or bright sunlight since these environments might negatively impact their functionality. Instead, protect them from extremely high or low temperatures.
Gently Handle: Take caution when handling your hearing aids to avoid drops or other damage, which will prolong their lifespan.